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Oil & Gas Employers Tackle Gender Imbalance

24 July 2012

Increased visibility of women across the oil and gas industry is crucial to attracting more women workers and addressing the industry’s gender imbalance, according to Audrey Kelly, Regional Marketing Leader, GE Oil & Gas.

Dr Kelly will discuss the career opportunities for women in the industry at the Australian Gas Technology Conference & Exhibition (AGT) in Perth on Thursday.

With the oil and gas industry in the grip of a major skills shortage, she said the industry needed to better promote and increase the visibility of successful women across all disciplines to address the long-standing gender imbalance.

"The industry cannot afford, not to access the female talent pool. The oil and gas industry is perceived by some women as a high risk industry when compared directly with other, less industrial ‘male dominated’ industries. This is driven by a lack of knowledge about the industry and the career progression it offers,” said Dr Kelly.

"There are many women doing great things throughout the industry, but they are rarely publicised. We need to better capture and communicate these success stories at all touch points in the recruitment process and at industry events.”

Dr Kelly said a key challenge was to overcome the public perception of the oil and gas industry as a male domain.

"The oil and gas industry has increased gender diversity in the workplace in recent years, which has driven greater engagement and employment of female talent to fulfil the vast array of roles available onshore, offshore and across all business disciplines,” she said.

Dr Kelly will share what GE Oil & Gas is doing to attract women workers and encourage the next generation of women to pursue a career in the gas industry, as part of AGT’s Careers & Training seminar program.

The program will include a ‘Women in Gas’ seminar at 12pm on Thursday, giving tertiary and TAFE students and jobseekers a chance to hear free presentations, learn career pathways and have face-to-face time with major gas employers and training bodies, such as JP Kenny, Baker Hughes, GE Oil & Gas, Schlumberger and Ferguson Seacabs.

Cheryl Licari, Account Manager at Baker Hughes, said the industry recognised the benefits of having women on board and was beginning to address the imbalance.

"Companies are now spending the time and money to strategically recruit, retain and develop women into the industry. A lot of this has been brought about by studies by the likes of Catalyst and Mckinsey, which have shown that having women in the company improves the overall performance of the corporation,” said Ms Licari.

"However, the industry still has a long way to go in terms of accommodating females as many want to start a family or have a family at some stage during their career.”

Launched by the organisers of the Australasian Oil & Gas Exhibition & Conference (AOG), AGT is a unique event for Australia’s gas industry taking place at Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre from 25-27 July 2012.